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Freedom of Information: Welsh Language

Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the merits of translating information provided in response to requests made under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Data Protection Act 1998 from (a) English to Welsh and (b) Welsh to English in cases where the request is made by a person who does not have an adequate understanding of the language used in the documents. [321442]

Mr. Wills: The Government have made no such assessment. Where an individual makes a request for information under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) or the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), any information released will generally be provided in the language in which it is held. There are no obligations under either the DPA or the FOIA for organisations to translate the information requested into different languages.

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Legal Aid

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much and what proportion of the legal aid budget has been spent on terrorism cases in each of the last five years. [320747]

Mr. Straw: The Legal Services Commission (LSC) is unable to identify all legal aid expenditure on terrorism cases as terrorism cases do not have a specific identifying code for all the legal aid schemes. Cases in the Crown Court do not have an identifying code unless they are funded under the Very High Cost Case Scheme (VHCC). Therefore, it is not possible to state what proportion of all legal aid expenditure was attributable to terrorism cases.

Table 1 shows legal aid expenditure during each of the last five years on terrorism cases funded under the VHCC scheme covering cases expected to last 41 days or longer at trial.

Table 2 shows legal aid expenditure during each of the last three years on terrorism cases funded under the magistrates court fee scheme and the police station advice and assistance scheme. The unique code for identifying terrorism cases under the magistrates court fee scheme and the police station advice and assistance scheme was introduced in 2007-08.

Table 1: VHCC legal aid expenditure












Table 2: L egal aid expenditure

Police station advice and assistance Magistrates court fee scheme Total





















(1) Up to and including January 2010.

Ministerial Policy Advisers

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much expenditure his Department incurred on the employment of special advisers and communications and press officers in each year since 2003. [319756]

Mr. Straw: The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) was formed in May 2007.

Special Advisers

The amount spent on special advisers is as follows:

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Financial year

2008-09 2007-08

Wages and salaries



Social security costs



Other pension costs






The figures above represent the element of costs within note 9 (a) to the published departmental annual resource accounts that relates to MoJ's Request for Resource 1 in respect of MoJ headquarters and executive agencies. The balance of the published totals, which amount to £424,000 in 2008-09 and £511,000 in 2007-08, reflects the costs of Special Advisors supporting the Scotland Office (MoJ Request for Resource 2) and the Wales Office (MoJ Request for Resource 3).

Press Officers

The cost of press officers, including contractors and agency staff and excluding support staff, is as follows:






Communications Officers

Communications officers include intranet/internet staff, event organisation, marketing and publishing staff and others involved in communications roles. Expenditure, including contractors and agency staff within the head office team, is as follows:






The costs of press officers and communications officers relate to MoJ headquarters and its four executive agencies (HM Courts Service, the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), the Tribunals Service and the Office of the Public Guardian).

The growth in expenditure on press officers and communications officers reflects the significantly increased size and remit of MoJ compared to its predecessor, the Department for Constitutional Affairs, and a consequent need to increase the number and capability of staff employed. To meet the challenge, a number of communications-led projects were undertaken which required the employment of specialist contractors by the MoJ HQ Communications Directorate for a limited period of time which further increased costs in 2008-09 on a one-off basis.

The MoJ is one of the largest Departments in Government. Communications, including the work of the press office, is an important element of this. The MoJ press office operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, dealing with all media relations for the Department and its agencies from the international, national and regional media.

Offending Behaviour Course

Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many and what proportion of offenders with (a) learning difficulties and (b) learning disabilities had (i) taken part in an Offending
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Behaviour Course and (ii) qualified for an Offending Behaviour Course and were awaiting a starting date on the last date for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [321317]

Maria Eagle: This is a complex area of work and there is an extensive programme of work under way to better understand and meet the needs of offenders with learning disabilities. Much of this work is set out in a National Delivery Plan which was published by the Department of Health in November 2009 which is being overseen by a new Health and Criminal Justice Board. This plan builds on the Government's response to Lord Bradley's review of people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in the Criminal Justice System, and work already under way.

There is a commitment across Government to work together to improve the health and well being of offenders across the criminal justice pathway-in police, courts, probation and prison services, and in the community.

Detailed information on offenders with learning difficulties or disabilities is held in a number of places including individual case files or by those who have undertaken specialist assessments or are responsible for particular activities or data. Therefore to collate, validate and provide meaningful information for this question, and in many cases manually check records, could be undertaken only at disproportionate cost.

Whether an offender requires a particular programme will depend upon the assessment of their risk and needs. All reasonable adjustments should be made to ensure programmes are accessible to those who could potentially benefit, and if not alternative provision should be made.

The National Offender Management Service offers a number of interventions to meet the needs of offenders including for example an adapted sex offender treatment programme. It has also recently been agreed to develop an adapted version of the Thinking Skills Programme, and a new programme for violent offenders to accommodate a broader range of learning needs.

Young Offender Institutions: Languages

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many young offender institutions have foreign national co-ordinator posts; and how many such posts are vacant. [321735]

Maria Eagle: Although each prison in England and Wales is required to produce a foreign national prisoner policy it is not a mandatory requirement of this policy that a foreign national coordinator be appointed. Nevertheless, out of 21 designated young offender institutions in England and Wales 14 currently have foreign national coordinators in post.

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what guidance and training is available to young offender institution staff in working with children who do not speak English as a first language; [321738]

(2) what provision is made for young people in prison who do not speak English [321740]

(3) in how many young offender institutions interpreters are provided for (a) induction, (b) education, (c) healthcare, (d) sentence planning and (e) disciplinary matters. [321752]

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Maria Eagle: There are no specific instructions or training for staff in young offender institutions working with children who do not speak English. However guidance issued to' establishments to support the development of local polices for managing foreign national prisoners reminds staff of the need to support prisoners whose English is poor and to encourage to them learn English while in prison. All establishments are able to offer courses in English as a second language as part of the core curriculum where the need arises.

All establishments in England and Wales can access interpreting and translation services. The availability of these services should, wherever possible, be advertised throughout establishments and, in particular, in areas such as reception, induction, health care and segregation units.

Information on the use of interpreting facilities is not broken down by service within individual establishments.

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice under what circumstances an interpreter is required to be provided for a foreign national child in custody. [321751]

Maria Eagle: Providers of secure accommodation for young people are required to ensure that young people are able to understand what their sentence involves. It is particularly important that young people can understand and contribute to the meetings that are held to plan and review their progress while in custody. If this requires the use of an interpreter or translation service then this must be arranged.

Young people must receive key documentation in a form that they can understand. This may involve the information being reproduced in their own language or provision of an interpreter or translation service to explain it to them.

Children, Schools and Families

Building Schools for the Future Programme

Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what estimate he has made of the (a) cost, (b) capital cost and (c) cost per square metre of each Building Schools for the Future project. [316583]

Mr. Coaker: The National Audit Office report, "The Building Schools for the Future (BSF) Programme: Renewing the secondary school estate" (HC 135 Session 2008-09 12 February 2009) estimated that the average cost to local authorities of establishing a Local Education Partnership to deliver its BSF project was £6.5 million. This includes local authority staff and adviser costs.

The cost of building a school varies greatly depending on the size, location, type of site, facilities included, and the amount of new build and refurbishment in the project. The capital cost of BSF projects is kept under control by the funding arrangements the Department has put in place with Partnerships for Schools. These place the cost of increasing the scope of school projects with the local authorities, where responsibility lies for keeping projects affordable.

The average total capital cost and cost per square metre of completed BSF mainstream schools is:

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Average total capital cost (£ million at today's prices) Cost per square metre (£ at today's prices)

New build schools



Remodelled/refurbished schools



The capital cost includes preliminaries, overhead and profit, external works, professional fees and surveys, sub and super structure, internal finishes, building fittings and furnishings, services and furniture and equipment. Average cost information has been provided because of the commercial sensitivity of data on individual schools.

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families for what reason Dorset county council has not been invited to enter the Building Schools for the Future programme in 2009-10. [322146]

Mr. Coaker: Local authorities are prioritised on the need for Building Schools for the Future (BSF) investment but must also demonstrate that they are ready and able, and have all the elements in place to deliver their BSF project. As well as assessing submissions to enter on a case-by-case basis, bids are also compared against each other so that the most ready and able are selected.

The assessment of Dorset's "Readiness to Deliver" submission concluded that further work is needed in some areas before the authority can be deemed ready to enter BSF. Applications from some authorities were also considered to be stronger than that submitted by Dorset.

Partnerships for Schools will work with the local authority over the coming weeks to address the areas that need further work.

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